‘No control over print media irks ANC’

2010-10-06 07:21

The ANC has got the print media in its sights because it is the one section of the media not under its control, press ombudsman Joe Thloloe said.

Speaking at a University of Pretoria debate on media freedom yesterday he said the ANC, which had proposed the establishment of a media tribunal, had only focused on print media.

“The whole debate has been badly couched. The ANC believes print media is doing a horrible thing.”

There had been no analysis of what radio or television broadcasters were doing.

“No one has questioned what they are doing. The eyes have focused on print because they don’t control them. What has happened is that they have found a scapegoat.”

He said that the South African Press Council was reviewing its structure and urged the public to contribute.

“We are doing this to answer the criticisms of the ANC that there is no public input,” said Thloloe.

Mail & Guardian editor Nic Dawes warned the media tribunal would steer publishers to ensuring newspapers simply reported on celebrity news, with the odd government press release getting some space.

Critics of the self-regulatory system had maintained the ombud was insufficient to deal with damaged caused by incorrect newspaper reports.

Referring to the draft Protection of Information Bill, presidential spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said all states had secrets that needed to be protected.

On the proposed tribunal, he said: “The most dangerous sentiment that I think is a threat to media freedom is the denial that self-regulation is inefficient.”


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